Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry recently said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will be issuing Fintech Charters. While the hope was the OCC would create a light touch, streamlined approach to empowering Fintech firms to operate across the US without having to kiss the ring of each and every state regulator, it appears to be the case that Curry buckled under the pressure of traditional banks when it crafted its proposal.
Timothy Li, founder of Fintech firm Fluid, told Crowdfund Insider earlier this month;
“I don’t see any reason why a firm would spend time and resources seeking a voluntary based charter. It creates a burden for Fintech communities and it is anti-competitive here at home and globally.”
Li was not alone in criticizing the OCC Fintech Charter.
So if a robust, light touch Fintech Charter was created enabling innovative financial services to operate across the country – who would win? Consumers of course. And who would lose? Traditional finance. Old banks that desperately do not want additional competition.
The letter from the House Republicans, signed by, among others, Patrick McHenry, Jeb Hensarling, Bill Huizenga, and Randy Hutlgren, tells the OCC to back off;
“In light of the importance and complexity of the issue, the OCC should not rush this decision … as you are aware your five year term of service will expire next month, in April 2017.”
So what does this mean to the OCC Fintech Charter (at least in its current iteration)? Dead in the water.